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Who is liable for a dog bite injury in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2023 | Animal Bites & Attacks

Liability in a dog bite case is relatively straightforward.

Only under specific circumstances would anyone other than the dog owner be liable for an attack.

The concept of strict liability

New Jersey abides by the strict liability concept for dog bite cases. According to this rule, dog owners are liable for their pet’s actions, meaning victims of a dog attack can sue them for damages if the owner’s dog injures them. The law does not consider whether the dog has a history of viciousness or ever received any training. Additionally, it does not matter if the dog owner did everything to prevent the attack or stop it once it started.

Possible defenses

Only under specific circumstances would liability transfer from the dog owner to the victim. For example, if the dog attacked someone trespassing, the strict liability rule will not apply. However, public works employees, such as water meter readers and mail delivery persons, carrying out their work duties are not trespassers. Additionally, if the injured person provoked the dog, they could share liability with the owner, reducing the amount of damages they could receive.

Damages available from a dog bite case

Tort law refers to the losses incurred in a personal injury case as damages. Some recoverable losses include medical expenses, lost income, in-home help, transportation to and from medical visits and the cost to repair damaged property. Because these cases can impact mental health, victims can claim pain and suffering and emotional distress.

Most dog bite accident cases settle before ever reaching the courtroom.